Richmond Raceway will recognize the life and art of Sam Bass for his impact in motorsports and the history of America’s Premier Short Track over the Toyota Spring Race Weekend on April 12-13. Richmond will welcome the Bass family back home to place some of his paint brushes and art tools in his own Private Fan Space in The World’s Largest Racing Piston, to safeguard and remain with the track for generations to come.
Richmond will also remember Bass with a display of recreations of some of his most popular artwork from Richmond. Prior to the TOYOTA OWNERS 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, 18-year-old local artist Jarred Barr will paint an original Bass-inspired piece in the Midway. Richmond will honor Bass with a ceremony with his family in the Midway next to The World’s Largest Racing Piston on Saturday, April 13 at 2 p.m.
“Sam Bass was a friend to the sport and Richmond Raceway throughout his life,” said Richmond President Dennis Bickmeier. “Sam’s legacy will live on through his art that has become an historic part of Richmond. It is our honor to recognize him with our fans over the Toyota Spring Race Weekend.”
Bass, a native of Hopewell, Va., graduated with a painting and printmaking degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1984. As a freshman in 1981, Bass took his portfolio and met with Richmond’s founder Paul Sawyer, who agreed to let him hang some of his artwork in the press room. Those first pieces of artwork provided the recognition from motorsports media to launch his career, and eventually lead him to become the first officially licensed artist of NASCAR.
“It really is true that Sam and I met in the sixth grade. We grew up together, graduated from Hopewell High School and married a year later. We lived in a small apartment just outside of Richmond while he honed his talents at VCU,” said Denise Bass. “It’s very easy to say that NASCAR, Bobby Allison and Richmond Raceway were the inspiration he needed to pursue his dreams. His determination gave him the chance to establish a lifelong, rewarding career in the sport he absolutely loved. Sam would be honored and very humbled by the tribute at his hometrack in Richmond. I’m proud I’ll be able to represent him and his legacy at the very place it all began.”
The double RR’s in Richmond’s logo were inspired by the organization’s Richmond International Raceway logo designed and introduced by Bass in 1988. As iconic as the RR’s have become at Richmond, they will always represent the artistic hand of Virginia’s Bass. The new Richmond brand was introduced in July, 2017.
Over his career, Bass created over 20 Richmond program covers. He also painted original pieces of artwork that were part of the Federated Auto Parts 400 trophy for many years. Outside of Richmond, he also painted program covers for NASCAR tracks and paint schemes for many race teams during his career.
As part of honoring the memory of Bass, Eternal Fan® has dedicated a Private Fan Space, in The World’s Largest Piston, affectionately known as “Shorty The Piston”, to place some of his own paint brushes and art tools to stay with the track for future generations. In the fall of 2018, Shorty the Piston, was unveiled as the permanent home, where Fans can purchase their own Fan Space, to safeguard objects and memories that represent their experiences and memories at America’s Premier Short Track. Richmond’s loyal fans voted to name The World’s Largest Piston “Shorty the Piston” earlier this year.
“We are extremely humbled to be a part of this special recognition weekend at Richmond in honor of Sam Bass and his family,” said Matt Linn, President of Eternal Fan. “Sam’s deep roots in the industry began in Richmond, and his legacy will continue, as we pay tribute to this great man of the sport.”
In 2018, Richmond partnered with Eternal Fan to bring the Fan Memories™ program to Richmond. Eternal Fan is the naming rights sponsor for the pedestrian tunnel that leads to the DC Solar FanGrounds. As fans arrive in the modernized infield, they are welcomed by the Fan Memories Plaques that honor loyal fans. Fan Memories programs are currently available at International Speedway Corporation tracks, Richmond and Watkins Glen International.
Eternal Fan has also teamed up with MBM Motorsports to honor Bass with a one-of-a-kind Sam Bass tribute car. The #66 Eternal Fan race car, driven by Joey Gase, will remember Bass by sharing some of his most iconic artwork. The Sam Bass tribute car will compete in the TOYOTA OWNERS 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Saturday, April 13.
To learn more about Shorty, The World’s Largest Racing Piston, and the Fan Memories program, visit richmondraceway.com/fanmemories.
Richmond Raceway 2019 NASCAR Season
The 2019 NASCAR season at Richmond returns “under the lights” for both race weekends hosting the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) at America’s Premier Short Track.
Richmond’s Fall Playoff Race Weekend will start the NXS Playoffs with the Go Bowling 250 playoff race and host the second race of the Monster Energy Series Playoffs with the Federated Auto Parts 400 playoff race on Sept. 20-21.
Tickets for the Toyota Spring Race Weekend on April 12-13 and Fall Playoff Race Weekend on Sept. 20-21 are available for purchase in-person at the Richmond Ticket Office, via phone at 866-455-7223, or online at richmondraceway.com.